HomePoliticsGay politics1983. Donna Summer, Homophobe?


1983. Donna Summer, Homophobe? — 13 Comments

  1. Donna Summer apologized in 1984 (Toronto Xtra Magazine) when looking for artist to do a benefit concert for AIDS, she was told that they didn’t want her there cause she was homophobic.She apologized then for anything she might have said ..to have given the impression she was homophobic. She didn’t just wait tip 1989, and Act up was form at the end of March 1987. And in my opinion Act Up was too militant and in your face..

    • It seems that many of the facts, haven’t been presented as they actually happened. Jim Feldman’s Villiage Voice Review( June 22, 1983) of her Atlantic City Concert , did not included the allegation that Donna said “AIDS was Gods punishment”. That came from a Florida concert in November of 1983. In a report of that concert, bystanders said that Donna who was being verbally accosted by some guys, said “Aids was in the community because of the reckless lifestyle”, Donna also said she wouldn’t have said that, had she known what AIDS was (that pp died from it). She thought it was like herpes. Regardless, there have been many misunderstandings on both side, and many false reports. Most egregious “Aids was God’s divine retribution”, or the many forms of that alleged quote, reported. Or that she waited until 1989 to address the issue. From 2 incidents at concerts in 1983. Keep in mind that in 1983, we didn’t know a lot about AIDS, the virus that caused AIDS hadn’t even been discovered, in the actual timeline of how things happened; the HIV virus being officially named in 1986. We were at the beginning of the AIDS crisis and what it would become. Unfortunately a lot of the anger in community got dumped on Donna’s lap. It would be understandable to me if she had been like Anita Bryant, I think the mention of Anita Bryant In Jim Feldman’s Village Voice Article and the use of Bryant’s “Adam & Steve” line really did set off a firestorm. Bringing up a lot of old wounds from the past. It would really be nice to see the “gay community” finally take responsibility for their part in this whole debacle.

        • Glove,

          Did you ever receive that Village Voice review by Jim Feldman. I’m kicking myself cuz I had kept it and then it got lost. But I DO remember picking up the Village Voice and getting upset by what I had read.
          Anyway, please email me if you like.
          Thank you.

  2. I met with Donna Summer several times during the early to mid 1980’s. I was a gay man. Unfortunately I was a very young gay ma, and didn’t QUITE have the nerve to question the idol sitting next to me on the sofa. Today I would, but back then it was a different story.

    I personally don’t believe she was a nasty person, but she was often naive to the point of ignorance. To deny knowing the furore going on around her was a bad mistake, and to eventually come out with an apology (at the time of a new global release) was, as written above, way too late.

    She was very religious and seemed to stay with that for the rest of her life, but many will not forget that it was during her days whilst being ‘guided’ by the devil and seemingly not REMOTELY religious, she made some damn fine recordings. No record after 1979 quite captured the essence of club music like it did in her heyday.

    Her music was great, and we placed her on a gay pedestal which she was never quite comfortable with, after she had made her millions of course. It’s hard to really enjoy those wonderful songs without feeling a hint of regret or, should I say, resentment.

    • How could you have been so young,in the 80’s and been around for club days in the 70’s ? In fact the initial incident that sparked the rumours of homophobia took place in florida in Nov 1983. There is hugged a guy with AIDS and prayed with him – for which she was attacked and called a hypocrite. That part was never published in the media, as was the part about the Adam & Eve (Anita Bryant comment), which took place during her show at Atlantic City 1984 – and was delivered jokingly while on stage (the crowd laughed). With the rumour already swirling in the wind about Florida, it was reported by the Village Voice as a validation that she was homophobic. I too met Donna Summer, with my cousin and BF in 1984, after that Atlantic City show. My cousin who was completely out there (and was worried about his fate), asked Donna what she thought of someone being gay and trying to find religious validation. She told him “God doesn’t make mistakes, we are all children of god”. All I have to say !

      • Beautifuly writen. On a strictly commercial point of view, she should have reacted stronger and sooner and above all publicly. At that time gays were starving for support. Streisand had done little but she was supportive in 1985. We were relieved by that.
        I’m not nostalgic but every time I hear Donna’s hits, I’m back in the seventies.

  3. her career deserved to nosedive, serves her right for condemning the very people who put her where she was up on high, but how lovely and rewarding to see her fall flat afterwards!

  4. I find it interesting how everyone could believe a saying that they werent around to hear. If you knew Donna you knew she grew up Christian. She became a born-again which means she re-dedicated her life to Christ. Secondly people will believe that she said it only because her religion. And how devout she became. But no one really knows because like any rumor the truth you cant find because there’s none. Donna didnt regret gay people helping her become a big star. I believe she regretted the sex symbol image as it wasnt her. She was a silly, oridinary girl who was deemed the jokster. If I were you, to those holding a grudge I would let them go. Donna’s at peace. It’s not good to defame the dead. Lastly, Donna wasnt gay you cant expect a gay icon to understand being gay she’s cherished by gay people. But isnt gay herself. She doesn’t have that experience of oppression solely based on who she loved. Except in the sense she married a white man. But he’s still a man so the oppression gay people faace for same sex attractions is not her experience. Her oppression comes from being African American, growing up poor and being a woman. People need to stop expecting stars to represent certain communities. We are talking about a black female pop star speaking for gay rights. That’s not a common thing. And it’s not normalized in black culture to do. Understand this and you will understand everything else.

    • Back in 2008, when she was promoting her new album “Crayons” she was asked by the interviewer what her opinion on gay marriage was. She said that because she was a straight woman she had “no opinion” on the matter. I mean c’mon, she couldn’t even throw us a bone there?
      That does illuminate part of who she was.

      But ya know what? It’s over. Peace to all.

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